August 7, 2016
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
INI + AMEN.
The lilies of the field. Contemplate the lilies of the field. The free flowers that just grow. They don’t care if they’re in a field, on the side of the road, or even in your vegetable garden. Those flowers don’t work. They don’t punch a clock. They don’t get up early or go to bed late. They don’t have hard times, lose their jobs. They just grow and glorify God Who made them in all different colors and styles. So glorious that not even King Solomon in all his glory was decked out like one of those little wild flowers!
King Solomon was the richest king in Israel. Google him sometime. Richest man ever, it seems. Donald Trump has nothing on him. In Solomon’s day gold was so plentiful it was valued like silver, but Solomon doesn’t even come close to a little flower that’s here today, gone tomorrow in the compost heap. God cares for the flowers that way! The birds, too! think about the birds and how they fly in the sky. They don’t have bank accounts or retirement plans, yet the Father feeds them.
He clothes the flowers. He feeds the birds. They got nothing going for them except He made them. In fact, all they are and ever will be flows from His being their God. You are worth more to God than some birds and some wild flowers, right? You believe that, don’t you? Of course I do! Who isn’t worth more than the birds and some cheap wild flowers? But then your worry! Your endless anxiety! What you’ve done and haven’t done! What’s your value and worth then?
Well, Jesus is the One who made all things—birds, flowers, you, and me. He takes upon Himself the sin of all and dies. He makes Himself least important to buy you back from your sins. He restores His creation—all of it!—with His holy life and bitter sufferings and death. What you do and don’t do doesn’t determine what you’re worth to God. What you have and don’t have doesn’t make you worth more than birds to Him. In fact, sooner or later, you’ll end up in the same place as the birds and the grass. I will too. You’ll end up in the ground.
But, Jesus first. He went into the ground first for you. He died. He was buried. He rose. You are worth what you are worth because Christ did what He did for you. All you are, all you ever will be, comes to its fruition in Him. Your being a kid, an adult, a parent, a student, a worker, teacher, mom, dad, or boss—All that you accomplish, all that you do is all gift from Him. His hand, His growing, His feeding, all of it to save you. All of it for others too.
What you have, what’s going on with you before God, is not about the money, the success, the stuff. I know you feel that way sometimes. I do, too. Worry, providing for your family, getting by, making it in the world—endless anxiety. Money itself isn’t evil. Trusting in it is. What you have is a gift. Finding my comfort in what I have — that’s the sin. Which is why we play tug of war with our money — between each other and between us and God. It’s what makes us so scared to give. We won’t have enough.
All of that takes our eyes off the lily—which is here today, gone tomorrow. Off the birds of the air—which are cared for by the Father. He cares for those. He will care for you, too. Worry stems from unbelief that God isn’t going to be a good enough God to you. That He isn’t going to fix your universe, but He’s already fixed everything in creation in the death of His Son. He’s already made everything right. He’ll work it out for you, too—in His time, His way. His Jesus way.
We are here today, gone tomorrow. We’ve only got a little time to do all the good that we can do to brighten the universe for the people around us. Bearing burdens for them. Lifting them up. Caring for them. Forgiving them.
Today, contemplate the lilies of the field. Think about the birds of the air. They don’t work or store their stuff, and He cares for them. He loves them. Not one of them falls to the earth apart from the Father. And if He so clothes the grass of the field and the birds of the air which are here today and tomorrow are tossed into the oven, how much more will He clothe and care for you? Jesus much. Calvary much. Holy Baptism much. Body and Blood much. Empty tomb much. Raised to life much. Caring for others much. Loving and being loved much. And if you should doubt this… well, just think about the lilies of the field and the birds of the air! How they grow, and how they are cared for. You, too, how much more you than the grass of the field and the birds of the air, O you of little faith.
INI + AMEN.